There are some imminent changes coming to how we manage the group’s finances. Part of this relates to monies paid by parents and guardians to the group. We need you to please read and action the below message. Thank you.

Online payments to become our standard

Penistone Scouts will only take payments via our online provision from January 2021. This change has been largely driven by the lack of banking on the high street, and for the simplification it will bring to some of our financial processes.

Monies will be collected via our well established Online Scout Manager provision. This is the tool we use to track badge achievement, to email you regarding events and weekly meetings. For most parents/guardians, your first experience of the payment system will be for membership fees (aka Subs).

Once we are able to put on events again (post-COVID) we will take payments for those via the same system too. At that time, we’ll let you know about some simple follow-up steps required for event payments given they will typically be one-off transactions.

What do I need to do now?

Firstly: All existing standing orders that parents and guardians have in place for the membership fees (aka Subs @ £12.50 per month) should please be canceled following your Dec 2020 payment. The group cannot cancel these; they are controlled via your own access to your bank accounts and therefore need your action.

Secondly: An email from Online Scout Manager will land in the coming weeks asking you to set up your payment method. There’ll be a link to click per young person so if you’ve more than one person in the group, you’ll need to kick off this initial set-up once per child. An email will land per child – if you are missing one, please check your junk or spam folders.

This is an example view you’ll see when you first log-in to the payment area. Click “Create Subscription” in the top right-hand corner to automatically pay subs fees. Alternatively, you can opt to manually pay each month by clicking the respective “Pay Now” button by each due date.

What else will I need to do in the near future

Gift Aid: We are enabling the “Gift Aid” function on payments. This allows the group to collect 25p in every £1 from the Government. If you are eligible, please make sure you tick to enable Gift Aid on your payments and provide any requested info to support it. (Normally just your full name and address and the formality of saying “Yes” to Gift Aid)

Census: Along with the Gift Aid declarations, we are required to submit an annual census to UK Scouting. As part of this process, we’ll be emailing you to validate your young person’s records (address, etc). Please do take the time to ensure their records are correct – we appreciate that when people move home, making updates to Scouting records isn’t high on the to-do list!

When will the group start to collect monies?

Earlier in the year, we shared that we would be offering a payment break for up to six weeks. The first membership fees payment will therefore be due on the 11th February 2021. Given it will be managed as a “subscription”, monies will *automatically be collected on or around the 11th of each subsequent month. (*provided you have an up-to-date payment method)

For most, other than renewing card details as they expire or are replaced, this part of payments will be set and forget. We recognise that some wish to have additional control over what goes out of their accounts and when, therefore it is possible to perform payments via Online Scout Manager at a time that suits you, albeit prior to or on the 11th of each month to prevent an overdue balance.

What else should I know?

Emails will come from Online Scout Manager and/or our own email provision. If you are uncertain about any messages, please reach out to us at [email protected]

Discounts for families of three or more young people are no longer available. Unfortunately, it’s no longer viable in today’s climate to be able to accommodate the reduction in fees.

We are in the process of reviewing our fees in-line with other local groups – we will advise in due course of any potential increase but are working to mitigate any rise.

Stripe is the payment merchant/processor and nearly all bank cards are accepted.

This system is new to us too, so if some of the messages aren’t clear or there’s something not quite understood, please let us know and we can work to address that.

Demystifying some terms

Online Scout Manager (OSM) – The online tool we use to keep young people’s records securely. Includes badge work attainment, events, weekly meetings, personal records, and now payment processing

Membership fees (Subs) – An annual payment of £150 (per young person) that we split into twelve equal installments i.e. monthly (£12.50). This is not a payment for service – they are a membership fee. They are used for, but not limited to: insurance, capitation fees payable to UK headquarters, utilities and building upkeep, etc.

Gift Aid – Tax payers are eligible to grant charities (at no cost to themselves) additional monies from UK Government. It is an opt-in scheme and we track those who have said yes to participation within Online Scout Manager.

And finally…

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your on-going support. We love having your young people as part of Scouting; seeing what they get from it each and every week is immensely rewarding. We recognise there’s lots of change in the world – we hope this change will be both practical and beneficial to you too. From easily being able to see what’s due, when it’s required, and if you’ve remembered to make the necessary payments, we trust it’ll make a real difference.

We also recognise that hardship is an ongoing challenge faced by increasing numbers of people. As a charity, we would never wish to place anyone in a hardship situation. Scouting is for all, and we have a well-established hardship provision in place. If you’d like to know more, please refer to the hardship policy found here.

Thank you,